The Country SA PHN (CSAPHN) has the following two objectives set by the Federal Government:

  1. Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes.
  2. Improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

To achieve these objectives CSAPHN will engage in information management and quality improvement activities with General Practice.

The intention of the PenCS CAT PLUS package, which has been purchased by CSAPHN to offer to General Practice, is to enable the following:

  • Patient focused prompts which improve data input, support billing options at the point of consult
  • Practice focused activities which enable benchmarking, quality improvement activities and better financial planning for the Practice
  • Regional and Country SA focused aggregated data, which supports better commissioning of health services, enables advocacy for areas of need and highlights opportunities for education

Country SA PHN is offering practices access to specific clinical information management tools to enhance and measure ongoing improvement activities.  These tools being offered are the PEN Computing Systems Pty Ltd Clinical Audit Tools and are listed below:

  • CAT PLUS – Clinical Audit Tool CAT 4
  • Cleansing CAT
  • Access to the Practice Aggregation Tool (PAT CAT)
  • Topbar Clinical System Support Tool
Rationale for Data Quality Improvement

Best practice disease management (i.e. disease based registers) and effective use of information management and information technology systems can be optimised in primary health care through:

  1. The availability and use of ‘clean’ data, i.e. data fit for sharing
  2. Consistent coding of clinical information and recording information in the correct places
  3. Effective implementation and maintenance of registers
  4. Proactive call and recall systems
  5. Regular monitoring, review and update of systems
  6. Encouraging a whole of practice approach to use of these systems
  7. Implementing practice wide agreements on common coding and recording

Data extracted from clinical software provides a way of measuring systematic improvement processes.  Once these systems are in place, practices can monitor progress by meeting guidelines and goals for evidence-based care.

What are the benefits to your practice?

Immediate potential benefits of using these tools in your practice may include:

  1. Enhanced quality and safety
  2. Efficient management of your patient population
  3. Effective identification and monitoring of high risk patients or specific target groups
  4. Demonstration of improved patient outcomes
  5. Encouragement for pro-active health care and preventive and early intervention activities
  6. Assistance in meeting accreditation standards and practice incentive payment (PIP) requirements such as the eHealth PIP
  7. Better quality practice data (i.e. completeness of practices clinical data will be improved)
  8. Easy identification of previously unseen gaps and opportunities for improvement
  9. Ability to monitor and track change over time demonstrating systematic quality improvement initiatives within the practice

Data quality tools may be most effective when used within a systematic quality improvement approach, working as an adjunct to the clinical software, from which they create clinical extracts for in-practice analysis.

What tools are available?

The Clinical Audit Tool
The Clinical Audit Tool (CAT) suite of products, comprising CAT 4 and Cleansing CAT is a data extraction tool created by Pen Computer Systems Pty Ltd.  When used effectively, CAT scrutinizes the practice’s aggregated patient information and presents it in an easy-to-understand graphical format.  The data analysis functions can be customised to suit practice needs, filtering by demographics, conditions and medications, allowing practices to target patients with particular needs or specific health risk profiles.  CAT is compatible with the majority of clinical desktop software.

Topbar Clinical System Support Tool
The Topbar supports the individual consult with applications to identify missing data fields, prompt for MBS items and a Patient health summary overview.  There is also a waiting room application which can prompt Reception staff to complete missing demographic information.

Practice Aggregation Tool (PAT CAT)
The PAT CAT function supports the collection of data from General Practices.  This can then be aggregated by region.  General Practice will receive a login, which enables them to view their data set against their aggregated regional group and all against all of the South Australian General Practice aggregated data.

How do data quality tools work?

Data extraction tools create a data extract that represents a snapshot of your clinical data at that point in time.  Practice staff can use the data extract file at any time, without further reference to your clinical software, and it allows you to view and export (into Excel) registers or lists of identified patients.

What commitment is required by your practice?

Country SA PHN staff will provide training that includes data interpretation and opportunities for improved patient outcomes.  This training may be supplied via a number of mechanisms e.g. telephone support, computer-based training or on-site.

Time and resources
To get the best out of the extraction tools we suggest at least one general practitioner, nurse or practice manager, spends some time each week or month reviewing the extracted data. This could become part of your regular practice review process and the content could be presented at staff meetings to take advantage of the availability of such data.

Quarterly data share (optional)
A de-identified data extract to be sent to Country SA PHN on a quarterly basis. This is optional and will be subject to a separate Data Sharing Agreement should you agree to participate. Access to the tools is not conditional on your participation in data sharing.

Sending data to Country SA PHN

CAT4 has an optional function to send de-identified encrypted data sets securely to CSAPHN, via practice-initiated FTP upload direct to Country SA PHN’s server, and can only be sent with practice consent each time this function is utilised.

No data leaves the practice without the practice’s initiation, knowledge and consent.  No identified patient data leaves the practice with any of the data quality tools provided by CSAPHN.

What if your practice does not want to continue using the data quality tools?

For one reason or another, a practice may wish to cease using a data quality tool.  If your practice wishes to cease using a data quality tool, a Country SA PHN representative will assist you in the de-installation of the CAT software from your computer system.